Hello Community Group Leaders,

In this very uncertain time, we need each other more than ever. While it is up to you as to whether your group continues to meet in person or not, there are options to meeting without being physically present. I found this article that may be of help to you as you strive to keep connected. If you need any help, please feel free to contact Darcy at dkuhn@northview.org.

How to Host an Online Community Group

New to hosting a group online? An online group is an incredible tool to help people connect with each other when an in-person group may not be possible. You can encourage each other’s faith, share authentically, and watch God work in ways you may not have dreamed possible.

Your first few meetings will take some adjusting as everyone gets acquainted with the technology and the format and works out all of the kinks. So don’t give up too quickly if your first few meetings are a bit of a challenge.

This page will help you figure out the technology to use, best practices for a good online experience, and what a typical group meeting might look like.

Technology Options

GOOGLE HANGOUTS

Capacity: 25 Participants / Devices

Links: WEB, APPLE DEVICE, ANDROID DEVICE, CHROME EXTENSION

Meeting settings

FACEBOOK MESSENGER GROUPS

Capacity: 50 Participants / Devices, 6 video & 44 audio

Links: WEB, MOBILE APP

*Download Mobile App for those without an account

BEST PRACTICES/ONLINE ETIQUETTE

  1. Recommend group members to download meeting software prior to meeting.
  2. Make sure your face has sufficient lighting.
    Lighting works best in front of your face, not behind.
  3. Make sure your face is centred in the video camera.
    We don’t want to see your forehead or neck, or miss you altogether. Position the camera to eye level or slightly above.
  4. Select the quietest room/location you can find.
    Turn off anything making noise in the background (TV, radio, appliances).
    Put pets in a different room or have them in a place where they will be most quiet.
    Background noise can be an issue but noise-cancelling headphones can help with this.
  5. Only use one device per household.
    When two devices are used in one location it produces feedback (really annoying noises).
  6. Mute your computer unless you’re talking.
    If everyone’s microphone is turned on at the same time, the sound quality can be an issue and it can be hard to hear the person who is talking. So the best policy is to mute yourself when you are not talking.
    If you are muted, make sure to nod your head and listen well so people can recognize you are following them.
    You will be muting and unmuting A LOT, so get used to it.
    Also, you’ll get called out if you don’t unmute, so don’t be offended.
    Or maybe, the moderator will mute you, so don’t take that personally.
  7. Be an assertive moderator.
    The moderator/host of the group will need to be welcoming and in charge. Make sure as host you jump on a few minutes early to welcome everyone.
    Redirect the conversation or mute participants as necessary. This may feel rude but is necessary to manage a good online experience.
    The moderator should talk 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.
  8. Create a plan for participants to indicate they’d like to talk.
    You may try something like raising a hand, answering in a specific order, or another signal.
    Since participants will often be muted, having a plan will help you know when to mute and unmute.
  9. Give full attention, don’t multitask.
    When participants are not paying full attention it can be a big distraction online just like an in-person group.
    When talking, spend some time looking at the camera, not just the screen.
  10. Stay in touch afterwards.
    Assign prayer partners to call each other after group is over and pray with them.
    Or text each other in gender-specific text chats to share requests.
    Leverage GroupMe, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp, etc. as a place to stay connected and keep the conversation going throughout the week.